Why the U.S. is so vulnerable to coronavirus outbreak

Public health officials and academics are concerned that a mix of high numbers of uninsured people, a lack of paid sick leave and a political class that has downplayed the threat could mean it spreads more quickly than in other countries.

While US drugmakers look best set to find treatments and vaccines, some believe that the country could yet find itself one of the worst affected by a global pandemic.

“The US has certain strengths when it comes to innovation and expertise around diseases, but it also has critical vulnerabilities, especially with our health system,” said Lawrence Gostin, professor in public health law at Georgetown University.